Airbrush of choice ? Posca paint pens ?

I was looking online for an possible purchase of an airbrush. Gadds zeeks, I was over overwhelmed by the sheer number and models to choose from (i.e. internal/external mix, gravity fed or bottom bottel, single or dual action…). For some reason or another I was narrowing on the Iwata HP-A, B, BCS,C series. I guess the BCS would be for semi large jobs. I was also looking at the Badger series and since parts for the Badger are here locally that may be the way to go.

I do have a large air system (85 gal with 220VAC compressor) and a very good regulator that I can drop the supply down to 1~5 LBS. I would imagine that I would need a moisture trap and filter to insure no oil or water would get into the airbrush system.

So, before I jump head first into committing the $$ I wanted to query the masses.

Next question, what is a good source for paint pens? I was looking at eBay.


Anyone know about this one at Harbor Freight Tools ?

$20.00 seems tempting


Hi Moondoggy! Looks exactly like the cheap one I have! Works really well. I’d say go for it since It’s only 20$.

I think It’s actually a copy of one of the big brand models. I browsed through some books on airbrushing before buying one and there was a model somewhere that looked exactly like this one.

Make sure You learn how to take it apart and clean it properly, if it clogs up with dry It’s no good

I’ve only used it for airbrushing one board with some spray fades and for that it was good.

The only thing it wasn’t good for was doing large surfaces.

I sprayed my rails blue but couldn’t get an even tone. Could be my lack of technique…


Hi Moondoggy,

Airbrushes are great for smaller work and touch-ups but I use a spray gun for rails and full board jobs airbrushing larger areas will give you an uneven paint job. Try Devilbiss for spray guns. I also use an “Aerograph Super 63” airbrush…worth the money if you can find one second hand (not made anymore) dual action is a must and gravity feed helps! You can get posca pens from ebay, or get a local stationary shop to order some in for you.


Howzit MoonDoggy, I'd get a nice HVLP gravity feed sprayer. You can get different size needles for different applications. Fiberglass Hi has a good selection and will help you choose the right one if you tell them what you want to do with it. You can also buy different needle sizes from them and that way you can use the same sprayer for doing full board sprays or pin lines. Don't be afraid to ask questions or you might end up with something that doesn't work for you. Fiberglass Hi carries a brand called Astra which is a knock off off the debliss and I've been using them for years and they are about half the cost of a Debliss. Aloha,Kokua

you also asked where to get paint pens…

OK you’re in San Diego, here’s three sources you might try:

  1. Brennan in Japan is/was selling Posca sets for $22 (small tips) or $25(large tips), including shipping. See the ad (URL above) in Swaylocks Marketplace. Its a great deal, plus he’s raising money for SA2005/Japan. Hopefully he’s still doing this.

  2. Zig pens (large) - they have them at Michaels, on sale now for five bucks each. They only have like 4 colors, but its a start. I bought extras & probably will put a set in the raffle…

  3. AAron Brothers was selling a few larger size pens of a different brand (Sharpie I think) that are a water based pigment (like the zigs). I bought 2 or 3 and am going to test them out. They should work fine.

Also, michaels sells the smaller size Zig pens, I use them all the time for writing dimensions on stringers etc. They come in chisel & fine point tips on the same pen (2 ends).



 Howzit Keith, Does Michael's carry the 6mm wedge tip Zig pens, those are the ones i used til they were no longer available here on Kauai. That is why I started refilling my zigs with India ink.Aloha,Kokua

what they have now is the “posterman line” they are pretty big, the tip is 5/8" by 3/8" or so – probably metric since they are made in Japan.

They look like this:

They also sell small (normal pen size) Zig calligraphy pens, these have a 5mm chisel tip at one end and a pen point at the other end.

They look like this:

 Howzit Keith, Not familiar with the posterman line but the the double tipped ones used to be available. The ones I used were in metal casings that were black and gray. The ones I've been refilling with the india ink work really good since they're like a felt tipped rapidiograph and india ink doesn't run or bleed. Are the posterman ones pigment ink, if they are they are a lot better than Posca pens which are acrylic paint.Aloha,Kokua

Howzit Kokua - yes, all of these are pigment ink. The posterman ones come in 12 colors but the stores here only stock a few colors - red blue black white… I’ll bring you a set if you want. The double ended ones I’ve seen in a bunch of colors but they aren’t metal casings, they are plastic.

see ya,


I looked at michaels and must of missed them. Took a look at their airbrush’s and it seemed over price for the Badgers they carry. They do carry a good quantity of water base airbrush paints.

I just remembered that I purchase a small touch-up gun several years ago and its still new in the box. Looking on eBay for a airbrush. I thinking of an Iwata Eclipse-BCS might be the choice. If not then I might try the Harbor Freight $20 special.

I was looking at the archives and saw folks thining with water and something else (Future ?) what is that?

Cut in the rail bands yesterday and am closer. Attached is a couple of pic’s.

Have some fine tuning still to do but am pleased with the project so far.


Future is a brand name of acrylic floor polish.

You can swing by and try out my set up if you want. I have a couple boards done, might as well paint one.

Resinhead is pretty well informed on painting, you could pick his brain on tools…

Howzit Keith, Thanks for the offer but not necessary since I've still got a few Zig's left and a lot of Posca's plus my India ink refilled pens.Aloha,Kokua
 Howzit MoonDoggy, I have an Iwata eclipse and it's a really good airbrush. They are like an old Chevy that is simple yet works great. I also have a Pashe but I never use it because the needles to easy to tweak and then they don't work, where as the Iwata has stainless steel needle which is very strong and hard to tweak. If you buy one be sure to buy some "Super Lube" also, the stuff keeps the needle lubricated which make the paint flow better through it. I also use the Super Lube on my spray guns to keep them in top shape.Aloha,Kokua

Easter was a very good day! Got together with some friends up in Jamul (she was one of the original world tour Beamer Hula dancers) and talked about airbrushing, uke’s, slackkey and one awesome dinner (A chief from Louisiana dropped in and did a deep fried turkey and made a gumbo that was a piece of heaven).

Anyway, the young artist is dropping airbrushing (because it was very bad for the lungs). He is going to help me out with the tools. He did mention lots of filtering. He said it was a very good idea to have at least 3 stages of filters inline.

Two more boards! Yikes you are on a roll. You are going to need more space before much longer.


Aloha Kokua, thank you again for the good words. I believe I am going to end up with a combo of Iwata Eclipse-BCS and a Iwata HP-C. My friend also mentioned a micron attachment. We shall see where it goes.

The Super Lube comment was right on. I had forgot about that.

Mahalo, JohnF

Has anybody ever tried using paint pens on rice paper, then using it as a laminate? I was thinking of trying this on one of my boards, but wasn’t quite sure how it would work. I am going to try a test tonight, but just wanted to throw it out there.


I currently have an Iwata HP-BC. It workds extremely well, but like all dual action airbrushes they need a lot of care amnd proper maintenace to function well. The Iwata’s are more costly, though i thinkht neEclipse is their economy model and is preiced OK.

I would suggest looking into the Aztec airbrush system. The diffrence is that there are no interior needles to clog. The needle is in the tip, which you simply screw in and out. Cleaning is a breeze and they make tips isn varied widths. Also the price is around $100, for a decent kit.

But for larege scale spraying an airbrush is not ideal.


Spray gun is better for large jobs. Airbrush will give you from 5" to pencil thin lines. Hard to get a large even spray with that. Iwata is a good choice if you are doing detail work though. HP-C or HPBC have larger reservoirs. Zig pens for $2.69 each:

Howzit mogwai, Iwata makes an air brush that’s like a sprayer that does larger areas. Don’t have my catalog handy or I could give you the model number. Iwata may have a website or go to Bear airs website to get the model number. Aloha,Kokua